Stas Polnarev. The Girl from Ipanema
Stella Art Foundation at Mytnaya ulitsa
November 4 - December 4, 2005
The core of Stas Polnarev’s project is represented by a series of colour photographs diligently hand processed. The set of these photographs is framed in a number of “direct” images, and altogether they constitute the “Girl from Ipanema”. The girl is quite metaphysical, her image comprises a variety of young creatures’ flashes of charm, as well as the pictures of unexpectedly revived reality, which all of a sudden start raining upon a spellbound lucky man in lavish and wonderful fireworks. Rhyming-reflecting in each other. Making day world and dream indistinguishable. Giving to a minute bit of time, which fills the picture frame, a heap of so important meanings that a whole epoch is not enough to hold them all. Thus, the “Girl from Ipanema” is not just a set of photographs, but rather a net of ties – sound, visual, literary ones. It might resemble a video track, disassembled into stills, or perhaps, it is a visual analogy of the top popular bossa nova melody, played and revised innumerable number of times. By the way, this is how it got its proper name: in 1962 there appeared a song, inspired by a real eighteen-year old beauty from Rio; in 1982 there appeared a story by Haruki Murakami, who was inspired by this song; in 2005 (omitting the major part of the coincidence chain) there appeared photographs by a twenty-year old Moscow photographer. Or rather it was the other way round: at first there appeared these photographs and they immediately started to accrete with everything scantily similar to them.
Stal Polnarev. From the The Girl from Ipanema series. Colour photography. 50x75 cm. 2005
It is possible just to trace the common course of ties. Here is the carving of “literary pictures” from the above mentioned Japanese: “… every time I listen to this song, I remember the corridor of my high school building. The dark and a little damp high school corridor. The ceiling is high and when I walk on the concrete floor, the sound of my steps echoes. <…> And the corridor of the high school building reminds me of a salad consisting of cucumbers, tomato, lettuce, greenpepper, asparagus, sliced onion <…> At the end of the corridor is a door and outside is an ordinary twenty five meter swimming pool. Why the corridor reminds me of the salad, I don’t know. There is no cause and effect, either. And the salad reminds me of a girl I used to know. <…> Occasionally, I see her in subway trains. Every time we meet, she gives me a smile…”
Stal Polnarev. From the The Girl from Ipanema series. Colour photography. 60x90 cm. 2005
And here (see the exhibition) is a similar stipple line of Stas Polnarev’s photographic images: a corridor and a swimming pool, a girl with Japanese umbrella, as well as sea, architectural concrete, subway. And besides a blood-red gift heart; gloves of the same colour in a wash-basin – wet, but without cut vegetables, although instead of lettuce leaves there is a sea of fallen tree leaves on another autumn photograph; erotic poster, graveyard portrait in a circle; children, lost in dusky spaces and many other things. All this – snapshots. So instant that they can hardly focus on the object of shooting. The seen is unloaded into a tunnel, which leads to a dimming yesterday and which reshuffles the succession of fixed events somewhere in its twilight. The author backs up the operation of eye and camera by his handwork as if he abandoned in despair the visual ability to stop elusive time. However, this work achieves a reverse effect. By stretching time it turns still “fresh” shots into rare memorial graphic images of accumulated past. “Now”, repeatedly left out, turns into timeless pictures of imagination and nostalgic recollections of childhood. It forms an expositional line of adjoined to each other photographs, which stick to each other very persistently as if afraid of disrupting the melody of life. It is the track, where dreamy illusion prevails over clear-cut reality of a photograph.